Help! Need a vegetable/salad side to cut through the heaviness of the rest of my dinner party menu - any suggestions?

The menu so far is:

Vinegar-braised chicken with leeks and peas (creme fraiche/butter sauce)
Warm Butternut squash and chickpea tahini salad

I was going to do a tomato/chorizo salad tossed with a garlic sherry vinaigrette but tomatoes are terrible here and no chorizo to be found. Suggestions for a bracing refreshing salad/side would be very welcome!

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HalfPint
HalfPint October 23, 2014

My recommendation is a pear and blue cheese salad like this one,
http://www.foodnetwork...

My favorite salad and I don't play favorites very often.

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cookinginvictoria
cookinginvictoria October 23, 2014

Two recommendations that could offset the richness of your delicious-sounding menu:

April Bloomfield's Carrot, Avocado and Orange Salad is lovely with vibrant, fresh flavors. I have also made this subbing parsley for cilantro: https://food52.com/recipes...

Or for a totally different dish, I think that Queen Sashy's Spice Merchant Cauliflower Couscous would be a delicious accompaniment to the chicken and the chickpea/squash salad: https://food52.com/recipes...

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aargersi
aargersi October 23, 2014

This may be consider lowbrow by some but would you consider a wedge? Crisp iceburg, with some alved cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion that has been soaked in water and patted dry, maybe a smattering of blue cheese and bacon crumbles, toasted nuts, and then just a reduced balsamic drizzle. You can assemble in advance and store them in the fridge - cold and crunchy to balance a lot of warm and rich stuff.
We like them anyhow ....

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Nancy
Nancy October 23, 2014

Make a cool refreshing salad of sliced or chunk-cut cucumbers, a melon if you can find a ripe one (or pineapple), spiked with some onion, garlic, cilantro, then light (or no) vinaigrette.

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amysarah
amysarah October 23, 2014

Not to be boring, but since you're already serving butter/cream sauce and a salad with a rich tahini dressing, I wouldn't add another rich, complex flavor, or cheese, etc. I'd probably just do some wild rice to soak up all those sauces. If you want another salad, just a simple one to cut the richness (e.g., butter lettuce w/ sherry vinaigrette - scatter some toasted sliced almonds if you want to gussy it up.) Otherwise perhaps spinach sauteed with garlic.

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amysarah
amysarah October 23, 2014

Forgot - if you want to do a more complex salad with chorizo, cheese or whatnot, I'd think about serving it as a first course. Let your lovely chicken dish shine! (And we really need an edit button!)

aargersi
aargersi October 23, 2014

or Sara's collards!

https://food52.com/recipes...

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dinner at ten
dinner at ten October 23, 2014

This lemon-caper-mustard salad dressing from April Bloomfield is the very definition of bracing:
https://food52.com/blog...
Simply tossed with some good crisp lettuce it's tart, pungent, and a great contrast to rich and sweet foods. The suggested addition of a little bit of something fatty to the salad is nice but not necessary, particularly if your other dishes are rich. As a mostly vegetarian, I often go with a little bit of avocado.

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ATG117
ATG117 October 23, 2014

A simple green salad with vinaigrette. You could also do a salad of thinly sliced beets with goat cheese.

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Sam1148
Sam1148 October 24, 2014

I've been really happy with making side Mexican fruit salad.
And since you mention Chorizo...it might pare well.

Just take this as a sketch:
Watermelon, Mandarine Orange Slices, Cucumber cubes, Cherry Tomato, Red Onion, Jicama cut into sticks. Green Chile pepper.

Okay...there's a lot of different fruits and veggies in that mix. Add Cilantro roots chopped (or parsley of you have a dinner party with cilantro haters).

Now, for a addition add Feta Cheese..or Mexican crumbly cheese.
And for a dressing...lime juice/olive oil/oregano/garlic..cumin, a bit of salt and really good crunchy salt on the surface to finish.

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Voted the Best Reply!

klrcon
klrcon October 24, 2014

Your menu sounds delicious! If it were me I'd go with something simple and citrusy and raw for contrast - perhaps raw fennel and orange salad with an orange vinaigrette and black olives. Good luck with your dinner.

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lem monade
lem monade October 24, 2014

That was my first thought as well… very similar, and equally delicious: using radicchio instead of fennel (or both) and adding a bit of coarse mustard and honey and/or orange juice to the dressing to balance the bitterness. I also love sprinkling some roasted walnuts or fresh pomegranate seeds on top for crunch.

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